Defending The Castle, by R.T.

Numerous articles and blogs have appeared over the last couple of years, targeting the prepper community and those people associated with standing up for our God-given rights as well as those rights afforded us from within the Constitution. These articles are generally positive, and they supply the reader with a fair amount of good quality advice in regards to surviving a “grid down” situation or some other catastrophe that may come about.

Being that it is nearly impossible to know which impending event might suddenly occur with little or no notice, it is extremely difficult to plan for ALL possible scenarios. It might be a financial collapse, an EMP event, the imposition of martial law, an asteroid strike, the eruption of the Yellowstone super caldera, or something else; the list of possibilities seems endless!

In order to make the best determination as to which course of action you should take that best suits your family’s location and circumstances, you must keep your eyes on the horizon and your brain tuned into the world around you. The constant assault from the MSM (main stream media) offers little in the way of news that could potentially help a person’s family make an informed decision about HOW to prepare, WHAT to prepare for, and WHEN to prepare for what may be about to transpire. I, personally, spend a fair amount of time following the alternative news sites, reading what they have to say, filtering out what does not apply to me, and discerning the facts from the fiction. I also read numerous blogs, watch some prepper videos on “how to” projects, and then spend a little time watching and listening to the Bible prophecy experts and what they have come to understand regarding the end times.

I am a lot like most people who live in the suburban areas of a large metropolitan city. I work full time, get paid bi-weekly, and basically live paycheck to paycheck. I have been able to save some money periodically and have made preparations to survive a TEOTWAWKI event.

Based on my location and circumstances, my wife and I have made the decision to “bug in”. We do not own property out in the country. We do not have rich relatives; all of our relatives are suburban dwellers, like ourselves. At our age, bugging out to the mountains with minimal supplies and living off of the land until things improve is just not an option.

We are going to remain in our residence, fortify it as best we can, and defend it with our lives. I have undertaken numerous and various steps to survive as long as we can, but this article will describe what we have done to secure and defend our home from marauding thieves and malcontents. I’m not going to talk about food storage, medical supplies, weapons, and the like, but I will concentrate on physical interior and exterior barriers and fortifications.

My thought process in developing a protection plan was to keep us safe inside and keep the criminal element on the outside. I felt that there were five areas of concern that needed to be addressed right off the bat.

  1. Windows. First, secure all of the windows. Windows provide easy access to any residence/building and are easily penetrated to gain entry.
  2. Exterior doors. There are three personal doors leading into my house– the front door, garage door (door from garage into my house), and the back door (from garage leading to the back yard).
  3. Overhead garage door. A single car garage door is made of thin aluminum and divided into four quadrants with two sections each.
  4. Sliding glass door. Mine leads from the kitchen to the back deck.
  5. Bay window. I have a rather large living room bay window.

All of these possible access points into my home created their own special set of circumstances. So, my question was how best do I mitigate those vulnerablities?

I decided to leave the bay window and the sliding glass door towards the end of my preps, so that I could concentrate on how best to solve the other problem areas. It so happens that in my home, all of the windows have an inward recess of five inches. Also, all of the windows have Venetian blinds and are about 25 inches tall and about 32 inches wide. I went to my closest big box hardware store and purchased six 4-foot by 8-foot pieces of 3/4 inch plywood. I cut the plywood to the dimensions of the windows minus 1/8 inch. I had also purchased four right angle metal brackets, containing four screw holes on each side, for each piece of plywood. I then secured the brackets to the plywood at the very edges. I then mounted two of my “plywood windows” in my rooms downstairs– a storage room and a bathroom. I left the blinds in place, closing them completely, and then placed the plywood up tight against them, so when viewed from the outside it looks like the blinds are closed and the plywood is not visible. With four brackets and four holes in each bracket, I end up with 16 2½” screws securing the brackets to the window frame. I then caulked completely around the wood, so that no light would escape from inside into outdoor darkness, hopefully indicating to transgressors that there is no activity on the inside. All of my other “plywood windows” are cut to size, brackets installed, and can be mounted in each window within five minutes or less. They are stored in the garage so as to be easily accessible. They also each have a pair of inexpensive aluminum handles screwed onto them so that I can quickly mount them and not kill my fingers doing it. I also have a tube of caulk for each one. Some of you may question the wisdom of my already mounting two of my “windows”, as it negates any attempt at escape thru those windows in case of a fire or other emergency. Those two windows are really the LAST place we would attempt to escape, if that kind of scenario popped up anyway. We also do not ever have young children over to our home.

My next challenge was figuring out how to secure a flimsy overhead garage door. This one took some extra thought. After doing some Internet searches, I discovered that the cost of having a new garage door installed that would meet my requirements was cost prohibitive. The solution that I came up with was to reinforce the door in its current configuration. The door is supported down the middle and on both sides by 1½” aluminum channels. I decided to place some steel mesh in front of those panels and secure them with metal screws, or so I had imagined. Again, I went to my local big box hardware store and started shopping around for ideas. I ended up finding, and eventually purchasing, eight 4-foot sections of metal shelving that had a one-inch lip around three of the four sides. I initially purchased one and took it home. I performed a fit check to see if it would do the job that I had envisioned. To my good fortune, the shelf fit right into the channels on both sides with just a little bit of bending. Now I had to figure how to secure them in place so that they could not be kicked in. I decide on 1-inch “u” bolts with a washer and nut on both sides. I bought 18 “u” bolts with washers and nuts and secured them to the aluminum channel by drilling ¼” holes in the channel on both sides. The garage door now weighs twice as much as it did before, but the electric garage door motor opens it with no problem.

Next, were the considerations for exterior doors leading into the house. Fortunately for me, this older home has solid wood doors, so there was no need to purchase new ones. Taking my cue from some of the old movies depicting those castles with the big wooden gates and the cross bars, that is the route I decided to take. Again, I took a trip to the hardware store to look around and try to determine what would work best. I ended up purchasing six steel open top brackets with two bolt holes that would hold the width of your standard 2 x 4. I also bought ½-inch wide 3-inch long lag bolts so that I could screw the brackets right into the door frame on both sides to support the hardware and the 2 x 4. When installing the brackets, I positioned them mid-door, right between the door knob and the deadbolt just above. I performed this same set-up on all three doors and feel very confident they will hold up to lots of abuse prior to any failure. Of course, by then, other defensive measures will have been deployed to thwart further aggression.

I’m pretty confident in the physical actions I have taken to ensure our continued longevity here on Earth, but I am also realistic. Will anyone be able to throw a rock or brick through my windows? No! Will anyone be able to kick in my front door? No! Will anyone be able to bash their way through my garage door? No! However, determined individuals will be able to, if I do not take further defensive measures during the onslaught. Will my defenses stop bullets flying? No, but I do have other plans to enhance our defenses when bullets start to fly. What I have accomplished is giving ourselves a reasonable expectation of survival during an intermediate SHTF event that is hopefully short lived.

I hope that what I have shared with you will provide you with some food for thought or give you some ideas as to what may be applicable to your personal situation.